Teen 'in drug psychosis' when she fell

The death of Denyse Tan, who fell naked from a Bukit Panjang flat, has been ruled to be misadventure.
The death of Denyse Tan, who fell naked from a Bukit Panjang flat, has been ruled to be misadventure.PHOTO: ST GRAPHIC

Coroner rules 18-year-old girl's death a misadventure; she fell 7 storeys from her flat

The death of an 18-year-old girl who fell from a Bukit Panjang flat has been ruled a misadventure.

A coroner's court yesterday found that student Denyse Tan had been suffering from drug psychosis when she plunged seven storeys from her bedroom window on Aug 19 last year.

The teenager was found at about 11am that day, lying face-down, unclothed, and severely injured at the foot of Block 431, Bukit Panjang Ring Road, where she lived with her father and older brother.

She was taken conscious to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries on Sept 3. A toxicology report found traces of methamphetamine, or "ice", in Ms Tan's bloodstream after she fell.

Inspector Quah Cheng Hui surmised that the deceased had taken a shower shortly before the incident, which was why she was not wearing any clothes when she fell.

Investigations revealed that the teenager had started using cannabis in 2012 after a secondary school classmate introduced her to it.

Last year, she began using methamphetamine.

Witness accounts showed Ms Tan had exhibited signs of drug-induced psychosis in the weeks leading up to the incident.

For instance, she had told family members that she kept hearing children's voices and animal sounds coming from her room, and also that she "felt very dirty", and was being followed.

Two weeks before her fall, she had knocked on her father's door while he was sleeping and said frantically: "Daddy, Daddy, got monster in your room, cannot go back."

State Coroner Marvin Bay called Ms Tan's case "a sad, cautionary account". "Drug users are likely to effect self-harm, or as in Ms Tan's case, place themselves in harm's way, while in an intoxicated, or even delusional state," he said.

Her father, businessman Peter Tan, was unable to hold back his tears as the coroner delivered his findings. The 54-year-old divorcee later told reporters he had not known his daughter took drugs, although he was aware that she smoked a lot.

Ms Tan had just started a course on criminology at a private school after dropping out of a digital media course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Mr Tan said: "She was a very creative girl, she had so many things to look forward to. Our lives were going so smoothly. I don't know why this had to happen."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2015, with the headline 'Teen 'in drug psychosis' when she fell'. Print Edition | Subscribe